The third-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), Tres Borrachos brings plenty of early speed to the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, always a precious commodity on Pimlico's tight turns.
"I think the Preakness will probably suit this horse better than the Derby would have," trainer C. Beau Greely told reporters after a recent workout. "The turns are a little tighter (than Churchill Downs) and it looks like it carries speed, or at least it has in the past."
The California-based conditioner, who is a part-owner of the Ecton Park gelding, trains Tres Borrachos for his brother, John Greely IV, who manages the family's Wintergreen Farm near Midway, Ky., and Phil Houchens. The latter pair bred Tres Borrachos along with Robert Shapiro. Ecton Park stands at Wintergreen.
Tres Borrachos, who began his career on synthetic tracks in Southern California, has only a maiden win in seven starts. After a fourth-place finish in the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields in January, Tres Borrachos showed dramatic improvement in his Beyer Speed Figures when switched to dirt for his two most recent efforts, topped by a 95 in the April 12 Arkansas Derby. Besides a third in that race at odds of 37-1, the bay also ran third in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Bay Meadows a month earlier.
He has had five weeks to prepare for the Preakness since his start in the Arkansas Derby. His maiden win, at Hollywood Park last November, was at 1 1/16 miles. Tres Borrachos has earned $159,200 in his career.
Tres Borrachos was shipped to Churchill Downs just a couple of days after the Arkansas Derby and has been training there. He drilled :50 2/5 for four furlongs May 13 and was due to fly to to Baltimore the following day. Tyler Baze, who rode Tres Borrachos for the first time at Oaklawn Park, has the return engagement.
In the nine-furlong Arkansas Derby, Tres Borrachos set a fairly rapid pace of :22.71, :46.61 and 1:11.09 before being hooked on the final turn by eventual winner Gayego. He fought back after being passed by a couple of other horses in the stretch to get the show spot while finishing less than five lengths behind Gayego, who is also expected to contest the Preakness. Because of the way he reacted in the stretch, Greely thought Tres Borrachos might need blinkers to add focus, but he decided against making the change prior to the last workout.
"We tried it one morning, and he actually went no different. After rethinking it, he’s got enough speed to where I’d just hate to mess it up and put a little too much into him.’’
Tres Borrachos is out of the 13-year-old Ontario mare Pete's Fancy, by Canadian Triple Crown winner Peteski, a son of Affirmed. The dam won $405,586 in a racing career that included 10 victories in 40 starts. She has had four foals. There have been two prior matings between Pete's Fancy and Ecton Park, producing one winner.